Oregon Initiative To Ban Hunting Falters

Oregon Initiative To Ban Hunting Falters

A dangerous attempt to criminalize hunting, fishing and a number of other animal-related activities in Oregon has screeched to a halt—at least for the time being.

As we reported last July, Oregon Initiative Petition (IP) 13—known as the “Abuse, Neglect and Assault Exemption Modification and Improvement Act to amend Chapter 167 of the Oregon Revised Statutes”—would have banned and criminalized all hunting, fishing, trapping and regulated animal husbandry and farming practices under the state’s animal cruelty laws if approved by a vote of the people. Thankfully, proponents of the petition have abandoned their efforts to get the proposal on the ballot this fall.

The “End Animal Cruelty” campaign needed to gather 112,020 signatures by early July in order to qualify it for the November ballot, where Oregon voters would then decide the fate of hunting and fishing in the state. The National Rifle Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and a number of other conservation and sportsmen groups have been fighting against the efforts to get the measure on the fall ballot.

“The NRA joined with our partners in the sportsmen’s community and other allies to proactively oppose IP 13,” said Aoibheann Cline, NRA's Oregon state director. “The success of that led to the withdrawal of IP 13 from consideration on the 2022 ballot and the birth of the Oregon State Conservation Partnership (OSCP).”

Sportsmen weren’t the only ones in the crosshairs of the initiative, as the proposal also would have banned a number of common agricultural practices. Activities that would have been prohibited under the proposal include:

  • Legal, regulated hunting, fishing and trapping;
  • Wildlife management practices under color of law (the “appearance” of right);
  • The handling of livestock being transported by owner or common carrier;
  • Animals involved in rodeos or similar exhibitions;
  • Commercially grown poultry;
  • Animals subject to good animal husbandry practices;
  • The killing of livestock according to the provisions of ORS 603.065 (slaughter methods);
  • Animals subject to good veterinary practices as described in ORS 686.030 (acts constituting practice of veterinary medicine);
  • Lawful scientific or agricultural research or teaching that involves the use of animals;
  • Reasonable activities undertaken in connection with the control of vermin or pest, and
  • Reasonable animal handling and training techniques.

Under the proposed law, hunting and fishing would have been considered animal abuse, a Class A misdemeanor. Under Oregon law, a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail, a fine up to $6,250 or both. The lone exception for “harming” an animal would have been self-defense against an animal presenting an “apparent threat of immediate violence.”

It's important to note that just because proponents have discontinued the effort to get the initiative on the 2022 ballot doesn’t mean that hunters, anglers and others in Oregon are out of the woods. Proponents have already filed a similar ballot initiative—this time named IP 3—for the 2024 election.

Unfortunately, IP 3 is even more far-reaching than the original proposal. The new initiative keeps everything from IP13 and adds changes in additional sections within the state animal abuse statutes.

Still, the NRA and other members of the OSCP plan continue the fight to keep it off the 2024 ballot.

“As a founding member of OSCP, and on behalf of our members, we’re prepared to defeat this effort again in 2024,” said NRA’s Cline.

About the Author
Freelance writer Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC in Jenks, Okla. An avid hunter, shooter and field-trialer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years, previously serving as editor of the NRA’s America’s First Freedom.